News Bites

Shareholders of French rail giant Alstom overwhelmingly approved the planned merger with Siemens rail operations, leaving the verdict of antitrust authorities as the only remaining hurdle. (Reuters)

Revenues grew 7.2% to €7.1 billion at Hella, a German maker of lights for cars, for a business year that ended in May.

Registrations of new cars in Europe rose 5% in June thanks to more sales days. For the first half of the year, new car sales rose 3% to a record 8.2 million vehicles. (ACEA)

Airbus signed an agreement with an undisclosed customer at the Farnborough Air Show for the sale of 100 aircraft. The list price for the jets is $11.5 billion.

Volkswagen posted record sales in the first half of 2018, with more than 5.5 million vehicles sold worldwide, up 7% from the same period last year.

Specialty chemicals firm Evonik raised its earnings target for 2018 after an unexpectedly profitable second quarter. The group now hopes to post an operating profit of up to €2.65 billion.

The Chinese made 22 corporate purchases in Germany last year, down from 26 in 2016. But the value rocketed to a combined $9.9 billion, thanks to a single megadeal: Geely’s $8.9 billion stake in Daimler.

The number of M&A deals by Chinese companies in Europe dropped by 12% in the first half of 2018 and their combined value halved to $14.9 billion, an EY study found, as rising protectionism discouraged international takeovers.

ThyssenKrupp’s board chairman Ulrich Lehner announced his resignation less than two weeks after the CEO stepped down, as activist investors urge breakup of the conglomerate.

Win-win deal

German gas firm Messer profits from Linde-Praxair selloff

Linde and Praxair are selling assets to meet antitrust concerns over their merger. German family-owned industrial gas firm Messer has swooped in to purchase American operations, turning it into a global player.

eco charm offensive

E-car service Uber Green to launch in Berlin despite misgivings

Uber hopes its electric ride hailing service will find friends among environmentalists, but Germany will be a tough nut to crack.

Digital money

How soon will Big Tech disrupt the banks?

With Google set to launch Google Pay in Germany, some observers predict that Big Tech companies will corner the market in personal financial services. For others, the fear is hugely exaggerated.

unknown unknowns

German car supplier Brose builds a complex plan B for Brexit

Brose, a maker of auto components from Germany, is re-configuring its network of factories in 22 countries plus Britain, amid uncertainty about Brexit.

Digital Estate

German court rules Facebook content is inheritable, just like a diary

A landmark ruling from Germany’s high court has set aside privacy concerns and put digital assets on the same footing as physical assets after death.

Terrible tariffs

Clothing discounter KiK stops US launch, blaming Trump

The German retailer had planned to open stores in America but has decided it’s too risky because of Donald Trump’s escalating trade war. Instead, expansion in Europe will get priority.

corporate spying

German firms see their data at risk in China

This week, Berlin and Beijing pledged deeper technological cooperation, but now German businesses worry new Chinese cyber-laws could open the floodgates to industrial espionage.

adapt or die

Study: Big pharma must move from ‘blockbuster drugs’ to big data

The value of the pharmaceutical industry in Germany is doubling. But drug companies need to move into the digital era in a hurry, if they want to keep profit margins high, a new study warns.

Golden goals

Nike trounces Adidas to clinch World Cup title

Nike 1 – Adidas 0. Despite spending millions of dollars to be an official partner, Adidas has lost out to US arch-rival Nike in the battle of the sportswear sponsors at the soccer tournament.

wuxi china, autonomous cars

Mobility goes east

German car companies head to China to innovate

Faced with too many roadblocks in Germany, Audi, BMW and VW are taking their innovations to the People's Republic, where government support gets things moving.

gokid, uber for kids, sharing economy

Ride-sharing

An Uber for the school run

GoKid helps parents better coordinate pick-ups and drop-offs of their children using a carpooling app. The subscription service is valued at $10 million.

Few leads

Innogy CFO on his March acid attack and why he returned to work

Bernhard Günther says the assault, the second in his career, taught him what's important in life. Meanwhile police are still investigating whether his personal or professional life led to the ambush.

Hedged out

ThyssenKrupp boss left with little option but to quit

Opposition from activist investors spurred Heinrich Hiesinger to step down just days after closing a hard-won merger deal with Tata Steel.

One-stop shop

Galeria Kaufhof and Karstadt close to merger

Germany’s two largest department store chains have reportedly agreed the key terms of a tie-up deal. One is owned by Canada's Hudson's Bay. Both need the boost.

potential market

VW plunges into car-sharing with planned all-electric service

Germany’s leading carmaker seeks to catch up to Daimler and BMW, and their merging Car2Go and DriveNow brands.

Hush money?

At Audi, silence is golden

Audi got rid of many top executives in the diesel emissions cheating scandal and paid them millions. Now they’re keeping mum.

Happy holidays

Travel prices rise as competition narrows

The collapse last year of Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest airline, has led to significant increases in flight prices due to lower capacity. And on the ground, coach travel is also getting costlier.

On the charge

Chinese battery factory defies German carmakers

German automakers have shied away from building a gigafactory on their home turf because of expected high costs. But now a Chinese firm has built one anyway – and it's getting huge orders from the locals.

Third time’s a charm?

Skoda to help VW conquer India

VW tried and failed twice to get a foothold in the Indian market. Now it’s determined to succeed with the help of its Czech unit Skoda — and a €1 billion investment budget.

Football heroes

BMW unable to kick Audi off Bayern Munich’s sponsorship bench

BMW had hoped VW’s bad reputation would let it unseat Audi’s position with perennial champions FC Bayern Munich. But Audi isn’t ready to head to the locker room.

dawanda claudia helming

Silicon Allee

DaWanda, Germany’s Etsy, to shut down operations

After 12 years, Berlin Etsy competitor DaWanda is winding down its operations, blaming slow international growth despite rising revenues.

heavier metal

ThyssenKrupp bonds with Tata in long-awaited steel merger

ThyssenKrupp and Tata Steel have finally agreed to merge their steel businesses. But opposition from a major shareholder suggests major strategic differences.

Well-paid and Complacent

Germany’s entrepreneurial climate is improving (with baby steps)

Well-paying jobs are keeping Germany's would-be entrepreneurs from breaking free of their corporate chains to start their own ventures.

Who's who?

Fintech startup WebID wants to conquer US with ‘made in Germany’ quality

Fintech startup WebID has cut its teeth in the hotly contested German market for video identification. Now it feels ready to take on the US.

SME Power

Mittelstand

Volkswagen, Bayer and Adidas are household names. But more than 95 percent of Germany's economy is generated by lesser-known firms that aren’t listed on the blue-chip DAX Index.

airport delays germany summer vacation season

Anarchy in the air

Airline delays increase amid summer holiday crunch

Germany’s airline industry is suffering an epidemic of delays and cancellations. Passenger compensation and other expenses could saddle airlines with massive extra costs.

Footballing fail

Drawing the lessons from Germany’s World Cup failure

Complacency and arrogance can poison the best teams, in both sport and business. Germany’s embarrassing failure at the soccer World Cup should provide valuable lessons to executives.

DAX

Profit and Loss Check

Once a year, we take a critical look at the financial health of selected German blue-chip companies around the time of their annual shareholders' meetings.

e-mobility

BMW places massive battery order with Chinese producer CATL

CEO Harald Krüger tells Handelsblatt the luxury carmaker is ordering billions of euros worth of batteries from CATL, frustrating EU hopes to support a European manufacturer.

California dreaming

Audi CEO takes electric car battle to Tesla’s home turf

Bram Schot abruptly shifted presentation of E-Tron SUV to San Francisco from Brussels in a direct challenge to Elon Musk.

Market leader

Tech startup Celonis is a rare sight in Germany – a unicorn

The Munich company uses artificial intelligence to extract data from company workflows and identify weak spots with a technique called “process mining.”

Energy bill

Power price hikes shock Germany’s Mittelstand

Electricity prices have doubled over the last 18 months. That’s bad news for Germany’s Mittelstand sector, which hasn't done enough to hedge itself.

Too much

Adidas CEO warns of over-marketing soccer

Prominent sponsor says too many international competitions dilute quality of play. Investors profit but fans will lose interest.

grammer car parts maker, ningbo Jifeng

Bidding war?

Chinese firm makes an offer for Grammer

Rival shareholder Prevent said it might raise its stake in the German car parts supplier. It thinks Ningbo Jifeng's €757 million bid is too low.

german pharmacy market, online pharmacies, Shop Apotheke

e-commerce

Online pharmacies write prescription for growth

Zur Rose and Shop Apotheke dominate the EU market for online pharmacies and see potential in Germany despite its fierce protection of classic drugstores.

Tech lagards

New AI association warns: Support us or the economy suffers

A new federal association for artificial intelligence is trying to help Germany catch up on tech. The government pays lip service to new digital tools, but critics say it’s not enough.

American investment

German business increasing US investment

Tariffs and Twitter tantrums have done little to dent the healthy business relations between the United States and Germany. Many German firms are even expanding their US operations.

Dieter Zetsche

The rise and fall of Mercedes man

Dieter Zetsche is preparing to retire after a stellar career. But the Dieselgate scandal may claim Daimler’s boss before he completes his tenure at the top.

Services shakeup

T-Systems cuts a quarter of workforce

Deutsche Telekom’s IT services subsidiary will cut 10,000 jobs worldwide, in a bid to change its sclerotic organization culture and end a decade of losses. Labor unions are not happy.

Data Drama

Teradata sues SAP for trade secret theft on data analytics product

US company Teradata says German software giant SAP used a joint venture to steal secrets later used in developing its core HANA product.

defending defense

Arms exports booming, triggering debate

German weapons exports remained high last year despite plans to reduce sales to countries outside the EU and NATO. Arms manufacturers say such deals have been vital to them due to sluggish European spending.

Jailhouse blues

Audi CEO to testify to German prosecutors on Dieselgate

Audi's CEO Rupert Stadler is “ready to talk” after being arrested in connection with the emissions-cheating scandal. Meanwhile, the company's executive board is deliberating his replacement.

Chinese influence

Berlin in last-ditch effort to thwart Chinese stake in 50Hertz

Chinese grid operator SGCC has signed a deal to buy 20 percent of German grid network 50Hertz — but the German government still wants to stop it.

norwegian would

Norwegian could be a costly flirt for Lufthansa

The airline industry is abuzz with speculation that Lufthansa is considering a deal with Norwegian. But this is one takeover battle that might be better left to the competition.

See you in court

Bayer takes on legal risk in US trial of Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide

German firm confident there is no evidence linking product to cancer, but experts caution that thousands of lawsuits could get costly.

Rupert Stadler

Audi CEO arrested over Dieselgate scandal

Prosecutors are hunting their biggest scalp yet in the Dieselgate scandal, arresting Audi CEO Rupert Stadler. The carmaker already has a replacement, Handelsblatt has learned.

Russian roulette

German companies stand to lose if the West’s Russian diplomacy fails

Right now, it’s all soccer and smiles, but if the relationship between Russia and the West collapses further, German companies will foot the bill.

german cow, cowsharing, herdshare germany

Meet your meat

Hungry for humane beef, Germany looks to cowsharing

Conscientious carnivores have multiple options for getting in on a herdshare, where a consumer directly buys part of a cow.

Less is More

Lidl remains hopeful as it alters US strategy

After some missteps in its first year, the discount supermarket chain Lidl is switching its focus to smaller, more centrally located stores.

Dieselgate

VW gets €1 billion fine in Germany for diesel fraud

Prosecutors imposed one of the largest fines ever on a German company, while criminal investigations against numerous current and former employees continue.